If someone asks you "How does video conferencing work?", the easiest way to tell them is there are at least two screens and microphone involved that let you talk to one or more people through video.
Another way you can tell them is they can log on to a video conferencing website, choose a person from their list and they can talk to them while they seeing them.
However, to the person who is all too familiar with the easy part of the answer to the question of "How does video conferencing work?" would need a more in depth explanation than just two people talking through video.
True indeed, there are microphones needed. Screens and monitors are also needed. However, it all doesn't come together without a few technological aspects. It isn't easy explaining how video conferencing works.
It's almost like explaining why the sky is blue . . . but it can be done. You just have to visualize it as it's being explained.
Let's say you're sitting in front of a monitor/screen in a video conferencing session. When you commmunicate through that screen, your video and sound is going into the software in analog form.
As the computer or video conferencing system accepts that, it transforms it to the digital form. When the digital message (that you sent is on its way) gets to the receiving end (the person you are talking to), the message is then transformed back to the analog form to be heard and seen through the receivers, speakers, and screen.
Now, how clear your picture and voice is depends and on the compression ratio. Have you ever communicated through video conferencing and the person's (people's) picture or voice is choppy or staticky. The higher the compression ratio, the clearer the picture/voice will be.
For example, a compression ratio of 2.1 would be next to the worst you can get. It would be like staring at a still picture while speaking to someone.
Now with a compression ratio of 100.1 would be like communicating with the person in real time. The average compression rate for video conferencing is between the range of 13.1 to 17.1 to transfer all of this data requires a large bandwidth.
I think of it as the virtual width of the band (network or wire) this traffic is going through. Basically think of a bottleneck highway.
You have 6 lane (digital) traffic trying to merge into a two lane highway (broadband). The bigger the broadband, the more traffic can be transferred more smoothly and quickly. So "how does video conferencing work?"
I say it involves compression ratio, bandwidth, digital and analog signals, broadband service, monitors/screens, speakers, and microphones.